Bo Xilai sure knows how to create a mess. He rose through the ranks of the Communist Party of China and was running a large Province in the south of China. He was credited with an anti-corruption and anti-crime drive that made Chongqing safe again. Thousands were arrested (some falsely, say human rights leaders).
Then it all went horribly wrong. Today Bo Xilai is nowhere to be found.
In February Bo Xilai’s top aide and the chief of police in the province walked into the USA Consulate seeking diplomatic protection. He feared for his life. He knew Bo Xilai’s wife had committed murder.
Two days later he left the protection of the United States. Did he have other options? He was immediately arrested. Yesterday he was formally charged and awaits trial.
As a result, Bo Xilai’s wife, Gu Kailai, was arrested and charged with murder. She killed Neil Heywood after he threatened her son and demanded money. Some reports had them on holidays together. Last month she was tried and sentenced to a suspended death sentence. She will spend the rest of her life in prison.
The other two policemen implicated in the cover-up of the murder by Gu Kailai are awaiting trial.
So that leaves Bo.
Bo Xilai is a Party man (not as in frat house – more as in Communist).
He had been a rising star. He had represented to left faction of a fractious national party. He favoured Mao ideology and was known for singing Communist songs from the 1950s.
He was in direct contrast to the ruling factions of China today. President Hu Jintao and his anointed successor favour modernisation and a market forces. Bo Xilai and his supporters want the State to take a larger role – again. They fear the next President of China will be like Gorbachev, presiding over the break-up of their nation.
Bo has friends. Bo has power. But Bo did wrong.
Since the scandal broke in February Bo Xilai has kept a low profile. For the past four months he’s been reclusive. Yet to date he has not been charged with any crimes. Instead he’s seen his titles and his powers stripped away.
Today Bo Xilai is missing. Maybe he’s in a “re-education through labour” camp in the extreme hinterlands of China. More likely Bo Xilai is under house arrest. Or incredulously he could be in a beach front resort favoured by top Communist leaders waiting out his penance in five-star luxury.
Wherever he is he’ll emerge soon. China convenes a Communist party meeting soon to elect a new leadership team. They’ll want this Bo mess all tidied up before then.
Until then, if you see Bo – tell him to look busy.